Athletes can do amazing things. They physically have the ability to defy logic while in play. Their gifts are respected, honored and immortalized in history. But even athletes make mistakes, JR Smith’s recent mistake in Game 1 of the NBA Finals may go down as one of the worst of all time. It had me thinking what other brain farts on the field were worse. So here is my top ten Sports Blunders of all time.
5. Ruben Rivera’s worst baserunning ever
Ruben Rivera never really lived up to his cousin Mariano’s family legacy. A career .216 hitter with little impact in his professional career does have something historic on his resume. Rivera may have the worst baserunning moment in the history of Major League Baseball. In 2003 while playing for the Giants Rivera was on base in the 9th with the game on the line, Marquis Grissom roped a shot to right field that was overrun by the fielder. Rivera then proceeded to resort to third grade t-ball status. It must be seen to be believed.
Rivera gets completely confused around second base, at first unsure about what is happening in the outfield, where the outfielder misplays a line drive. Once Rivera realizes that the ball is still in play and no out has been recorded, he heads to third, but forgets to tag up at second. He goes back to do that, and then heads to third, where it looks like he will be out by 10 feet. However, the third baseman misplays the ball and it kicks away from him. Eventually Rivera is tagged out and his career was tagged out shortly after.
4. 1982 NCAA Tournament Game: Fred Brown passes it to the wrong team.
The 1982 NCAA Championships matched two iconic programs fighting it out as Michael Jordan’s North Carolina Tarheels taking on the Patrick Ewing’s Georgetown Hoyas. This game had everything you could want, future NBA legends, Hall of Fame Coaches and back and forth action. With 17 seconds left in the game and North Carolina leading 63-62, Georgetown Guard Fred Brown mistook Carolina’s James Worthy for a teammate and passed the ball right to his opponent. Worthy was fouled by Eric Smith with two seconds to go. With no timeouts left the Hoyas were unable to get the ball down the court after two missed free throws. In the heat of the moment even the best make mistakes but this one will live on in the memory of Hoya fans as an all time blunder.
3. Leon Lett fumble recovery… sort of.
Leon Lett was a 2-time pro bowl defensive lineman for the Dallas Cowboys during their early 90’s dominate run. Lett was a dominant force at times for a strong Cowboys defense. While his playing career had many highlights he is known more for his two massive mistakes. His famous Super Bowl fumble was pretty embarrassing but the Cowboys destroyed the Buffalo Bills so the embarrassing moment was overshadowed by victory
On Thanksgiving day in 1993, during a rare snow and sleet storm in Dallas, the Cowboys, who came into the game with a 7–3 record, were leading the 8–2 Miami Dolphins by a score of 14–13 with 15 seconds remaining in the game.But instead of allowing the ball to die down and let the refs pick it up, Leon Lett comes rumbling, bumbling and stumbling on top of the ball, squirting it into the arms of shocked Dolphins. Re-kick. The Dolphins take advantage of the second chance and win.
2. Jim Joyce Noooo!
Mental mistakes don’t always just happen to athletes officials some times don’t make the best decisions. On June 2 2010 the Detroit Tigers were taking on the Cleveland Indians in a central division showdown. The Tigers had Armando Gallarraga on the mound putting on an amazing performance retiring 26 straight Indian batters when Jason Donald stepped up to the plate. Donald hit a weak ground ball to First Baseman Miguel Cabrera, Cabrera tossed to the covering Gallarraga to complete just the 21st ever Perfect Game in MLB history…..or so we thought.
Veteran umpire Jim Joyce called Donald safe at first thus ending the bid for perfection. Upon review it showed that he baserunner was out by at least a step and a half. Joyce, whom was voted as the top umpire in Major League Baseball the year before had just made one of the most epic wrong calls in the history of the game.
Gallarraga never was able to capture the same stuff he had that night, his career ending after a few subpar seasons. Jim Joyce is still umpiring, but every time his name is brought up you can’t help but think of that call.
1.Chris Webber’s huge mistake
Chris Webber was arguably the best college basketball player in the country during his time at Michigan. Webber, the #1 ranked recruit going into the 1991-1992 season brought size, speed and athleticism to the power forward position unlike anything the game had seen. He could run point, post you up and hit jumper in your face while grabbing ten boards a game. The cornerstone of the historic Fab Five teams college resume will always be tarnished but not because Michigan was forced to bring down the banners. It will be tarnished for the biggest mental mistake in the history of college basketball.
On April 5th 1993 the Webber’s Michigan Wolverines were in the National Championship game against Dean’ Smith’s North Carolina Tarheels. With seconds left in the game and the Wolverines down Webber had the ball and charged down court. Then it happened
“Webber brings it into the frontcourt … they have no timeouts remaining … Oh! He calls it, too many timeouts! That’s a technical foul! He called a timeout, and Michigan doesn’t have any!”
North Carolina shot the two technical free throws and sealed up another National Title. Webber and his teammates had to just watched as for the second year in a row their dreams of a championship would go down the drain. Webber to this day doesn’t want to talk about the miss timed timeout. He went on to have a great NBA career, currently one of my favorite NBA Analyst to listen to. But forever I will remember him as the guy that called the worst timeout in college basketball history